Thursday, April 27, 2006

Another sunburn note

I forgot to add this note about my sunburn: Sometime while I was out there, Christine came and gave me a smooch on my back. Her lip stuff had enough SPF to keep me from getting burned there and I have a kiss shaped unburned spot. :)

No more yard work

Sort of spur-of-the-moment last weekend I decided to mow the lawn for the first time this season. With such a small yard it's a pretty quick process so I didn't give much thought to the fact that I had recently removed my shirt (it was covered in garage dirt and grime). (Settle down, I'm know I'm like Fabio and all but try to contain your excitement over my shirtless body glistening with perspiration.) I must have been feeling really spunky, because I also decided that I would clean up all the edging and pull up the grass that had snuck it's way into the stones. I ended up crawling around the entire circumference of the yard on my hands and knees.

Fast forward to a few hours later: I'm standing in the kitchen and I say "Gee, my back feels kind of like leather." Sure enough, I was burnt worse than toast at a crappy diner. I figure I get one "Hey stupid, don't forget to wear sunblock" moment every year, and this one's a doozie. It doesn't hurt much anymore, but now I feel like snake shedding its skin. Nasty.

The important lesson to be learned here is: Don't do yard work.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Mad Cow Classic

Christine and I had a great time racing at the Mad Cow Classic in Grand Junction. This year my race category had grown from last year's handful of people to about 25 people and as a result we got to race by ourselves instead of being mixed in with the collegiate groups.

The race started off slow (as to be expected for a 60 mile race) and it remained that way until we reached the first major climb. The pace of the climb put a hurting on some people, including myself, but I was able to stay with the leaders and after a short downhill I used my momentum to move to the front of the group. It was a bit odd to be riding at the front of the race, but it was kind of nice because it allowed me to recover at a tempo of my choosing. I wanted to get off the front but nobody was willing to get at the front of the group and do some work. I have NEVER ridden with a lazier group of people. I went so far as to pull way over and sit up , but the person behind me was just unwilling to take the lead. I was getting close to verbally chastising him, when I realized that there were some downhill corners coming up, and it would be to my advantage to be at the front.

I stayed on the front or near the front for most of the rest of the race. Being near the front was fun. :) Shortly before the second to last major climb, I saw someone take off. I had been watching him through the race, and thought that he might be making the winning move. I decided to hop on his wheel, but he sputtered out. Shortly after that climb, another person attacked and I didn't think he had the strength to say away. In my head I was telling myself that I can't hop on every break, so I let him go. Oops, that was the winning move and it was a race for second for the rest of us.. I found some energy on the final major climb to launch an attack. It felt great to be able put on hurtin' on some people like that. A small group caught me on the downhill and there we were speeding towards the line. Again, some people were unwilling to work which is extremely frustrating when you're trying to make your break "stick", but eventually we got people working together and our break stayed away until the finish. I wasn't exactly sure where the finish line was and ended up starting my sprint waaaaay to early. It's a tactical mistake that I'll have to learn from, but I'm still pretty happy with my 5th place finish. I felt like I rode a strong race and it feels like my pack riding skills are getting better. I can't wait to do this race next year.

Hanging Lake

Christine and I stopped for a hike at Hanging Lake on our way out to Grand Junction. If you've never been, it's taking the short (and steep) hike. I especially recommend going during the week if you can because there's far fewer people.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

It's been quite a while since I updated my LJ. But since my life isn't all that interesting, I don't think anyone has minded. :)

The Bike: Racing season is starting up. I've been doing a lot of training. Not as much as I like, but still more than I feel like I have time for. So far I've done 2 races, with not much in the way of results. The first race (Koppenburg) stunk because of all the wind. The second race was pretty fun even though I got dropped 25 miles into the race. I learned some good things about what I need to work on, and that's always good. This weekend Christine and I are going to a race in Grand Junction. We did the same race last year and had some fun, so we decided to come back. It's also a good excuse to get away for a bit. We took Friday off so we could stop at Hanging Lake along the way and do a quick hike.

The Car: I hit a piece of a 2x4 on the highway that someone in front of me ran over and kicked up. It knocked out a grill piece that I've already replaced 2 times. It also took off some paint on the bumper, but nothing major. It's just annoying that someone left a 2x4 on the highway.

The Motorcycle: I'm trying to modify the bike to make it low enough for Christine to ride it. As it is right now, she can't touch the ground when sits on it. I just finished making a new seat that's a little lower and narrower. It's not going to be enough to make it ridable for her, but it will help. I've also ordered some pieces that will lower the bike up to 4".

The Wedding: Still planning. We've got a lot of the details figured out, but there's always more. Our website will hopefully be up soon with useful information.

Sunday, April 2, 2006

Plant out to get me

This plant has been taking over our household for the past month. I think it's reaching out to try and tackle me as I walk in the front door:


Today was my first race of the year - The Koppenberg Circuit Race, which gets its name from a famous cobblestone climb in the Belgian spring classic De Ronde Van Vlaanderen (The Tour of Flanders). This wasn't one of my 'A' priority races (or even close), but I still thought I'd be able to do decent.

I had an okay starting spot, but I lost some position once we hit the dirt section. It was pretty windy, and being on the loose dirt in such close quarters kind of sketched me out a bit. Ideally you want to be near the front of the race for the first trip up "The Koppenberg Climb", because it's a good place to lose some time as you get stuck behind people falling off their bikes. And being stuck behind people is exactly what happened. I wasn't aggressive enough to be at the front so I found myself near the end of the main field and wouldn't you know it, people starting hopping off their bikes in front of me and I had to run up the hill carrying my bike. It was not a pretty site, especially when I reached the top and got hit by some strong wind. At that point, my race was pretty much over. With the 30+ MPH gusts of wind along the front range, you can't make up time against a big pack. I put in a good effort, but it was super frustrating.

I know I'm in way better shape than last year, so it really sucked to do so poorly today. It's not that it's a big deal to not place highly, but I really felt like I should have performed better than I did. At least I didn't fall off the bike, and the race season is just getting warm. The silver lining on today's race experience was that I managed to pass about 5 or 6 people in the last 200 meters of the race.